[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epithelium plays a key role in the spread of Lassa virus. Transmission from rodents to humans occurs mainly via inhalation or ingestion of droplets, dust, or food contaminated with rodent urine. Here, we investigated Lassa virus infection in cultured epithelial cells and subsequent release of progeny viruses. We show that Lassa virus enters polarized Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells mainly via the basolateral route, consistent with the basolateral localization of the cellular Lassa virus receptor alpha-dystroglycan. In contrast, progeny virus was efficiently released from the apical cell surface. Further, we determined the roles of the glycoprotein, matrix protein, and nucleoprotein in directed release of nascent virus. To do this, a virus-like-particle assay was developed in polarized MDCK cells based on the finding that, when expressed individually, both the glycoprotein GP and matrix protein Z form virus-like particles. We show that GP determines the apical release of Lassa virus from epithelial cells, presumably by recruiting the matrix protein Z to the site of virus assembly, which is in turn essential for nucleocapsid incorporation into virions.
Journal of Virology 04/2010; 84(7):3178-88. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mature glycoprotein spikes are inserted in the Lassa virus envelope and consist of the distal subunit GP-1, the transmembrane-spanning subunit GP-2, and the signal peptide, which originate from the precursor glycoprotein pre-GP-C by proteolytic processing. In this study, we analyzed the oligomeric structure of the viral surface glycoprotein. Chemical cross-linking studies of mature glycoprotein spikes from purified virus revealed the formation of trimers. Interestingly, sucrose density gradient analysis of cellularly expressed glycoprotein showed that in contrast to trimeric mature glycoprotein complexes, the noncleaved glycoprotein forms monomers and oligomers spanning a wide size range, indicating that maturation cleavage of GP by the cellular subtilase SKI-1/S1P is critical for formation of the correct oligomeric state. To shed light on a potential relation between cholesterol and GP trimer stability, we performed cholesterol depletion experiments. Although depletion of cholesterol had no effect on trimerization of the glycoprotein spike complex, our studies revealed that the cholesterol content of the viral envelope is important for the infectivity of Lassa virus. Analyses of the distribution of viral proteins in cholesterol-rich detergent-resistant membrane areas showed that Lassa virus buds from membrane areas other than those responsible for impaired infectivity due to cholesterol depletion of lipid rafts. Thus, derivation of the viral envelope from cholesterol-rich membrane areas is not a prerequisite for the impact of cholesterol on virus infectivity.
Journal of Virology 11/2009; 84(2):983-92. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteolytic processing of the Lassa virus envelope glycoprotein precursor GP-C by the host proprotein convertase site 1 protease (S1P) is a prerequisite for the incorporation of the subunits GP-1 and GP-2 into viral particles and, hence, essential for infectivity and virus spread. Therefore, we tested in this study the concept of using S1P as a target to block efficient virus replication.
We demonstrate that stable cell lines inducibly expressing S1P-adapted alpha(1)-antitrypsin variants inhibit the proteolytic maturation of GP-C. Introduction of the S1P recognition motifs RRIL and RRLL into the reactive center loop of alpha(1)-antitrypsin resulted in abrogation of GP-C processing by endogenous S1P to a similar level observed in S1P-deficient cells. Moreover, S1P-specific alpha(1)-antitrypsins significantly inhibited replication and spread of a replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus expressing the Lassa virus glycoprotein GP as well as authentic Lassa virus. Inhibition of viral replication correlated with the ability of the different alpha(1)-antitrypsin variants to inhibit the processing of the Lassa virus glycoprotein precursor.
Our data suggest that glycoprotein cleavage by S1P is a promising target for the development of novel anti-arenaviral strategies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Z protein is the matrix protein of arenaviruses and has been identified as the main driving force for budding. Both LCMV and Lassa virus Z proteins bud from cells in the absence of other viral proteins as enveloped virus-like particles. Z accumulates near the inner surface of the plasma membrane where budding takes place. Furthermore, biochemical data have shown that Z is strongly membrane associated. The primary sequence of Z lacks a typical transmembrane domain and until now it is not understood by which mechanism Z is able to interact with cellular membranes. In this report, we analyzed the role of N-terminal myristoylation for the membrane binding of Lassa virus Z. We show that disruption of the N-terminal myristoylation signal by substituting the N-terminal glycine with alanine (Z-G2A mutant) resulted in a significant reduction of Z protein association with cellular membranes. Furthermore, removal of the myristoylation site resulted in a relocalization of Z from a punctuate distribution to a more diffuse cellular distribution pattern. Finally, treatment of Lassa virus-infected cells with various myristoylation inhibitors drastically reduced efficient Lassa virus replication. Our data indicate that myristoylation of Z is critical for its binding ability to lipid membranes and thus, for effective virus budding.